Comparing Clueless and Emma Essay

1816 WordsSep 11, 20108 Pages
CLUELESS VS. EMMA Adaptations of Jane Austen’s, Emma, are usually period pieces diligent in capturing and replicating the manners, dress, language and values of the original text. Clueless, written and directed by Amy Heckerling, deviates drastically from the norm, as the film is not a period piece. While Emma is set in the early nineteenth century in the country village of Highbury, sixteen miles out of London, England, Clueless is set in Bronson Alcott High School almost two hundred years later, in the late twentieth century. Despite the significantly different geographical and historical setting and the diverse social values, lifestyles, and issues than those depicted in Emma, Amy Heckerling’s high school setting retains and is…show more content…
Although Highbury’s residents show much regard for decorum, gossip is an inherent characteristic in both Highbury (xvi) and Bronson Alcott High School as means of spreading news, knowledge, and in criticizing. In Highbury everyone knows everyone else’s affairs, even that the Perrys are speculating about buying a carriage. When Frank goes all the way to London for a haircut he is considered a “fop”. The prevalence of gossip is also evident in the everyday life of Bronson Alcott, Cher is able to give specific information about Christian’s parents’ joint custody although she has not met him. Later Cher gossips about the reputations of the various social groups sitting around the school. Both the novel Emma and the film Clueless reflect the societies of their times and use the acceptable forms of language for their settings. In Emma the characters use the expected for formal language in their direct and indirect speeches. Harriett addresses her friend as “Dear Miss Woodhouse,” and Mrs. Elton shocks everyone saying “Jane” and “Knight” without appropriate titles. In Clueless however, Cher, her father and Josh speak in informal everyday language most of the other speech is in slang, “whatever” or referring to attractive guys as a “Baldwin” and pretty girls as a “Betty.” Satire and irony provide then humour in both the novel and
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